Tropical Storm Danielle forms in the Atlantic and is expected to become hurricane

Tropical Storm Danielle forms in the Atlantic and is expected to become hurricane

Tropical Storm Danielle has formed, officially the fourth named storm of the Atlantic Hurricane season.

The storm system was updated to a tropical depression on Thursday morning, and a tropical storm a few hours later, with wind speeds up to around 40 miles per hour (65 kilometres per hour). Maximum wind speeds are expected to reach above 74 miles per hour within the next few days, which would make Danielle a Category 1 hurricane.

The system is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, between New Jersey and Spain, and heading eastward. It is expected to stay in the middle of the ocean and doesn’t pose a threat to any coastal areas at the moment.

“Danielle is expected to become a hurricane in two days and peak in intensity in about 4 days,” the National Hurricane Center (NHC) says

Two other storm systems are also brewing south of Danielle, according to tracking at NHC. Those storms each have an 80 per cent and 30 per cent chance of forming at least a tropical depression in the next five days.

The 2022 hurricane season in the Atlantic has been off to a particularly slow start, despite predictions of an active season.

This year is the first since 1997 – and only the third overall since 1960 – where no named storms formed during the month of August, usually one of the most active months for hurricane activity. It’s also the first time since 1982 that only three named storms formed by the end of August.

As late as early August, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted an “above-normal” hurricane season, with up to 20 named storms, of which up to 10 could be hurricanes.

Between three and five of those were forecasted to be “major hurricanes”, meaning at least Category 3, with wind speeds of 111 mph (179 kph) or more.

As the planet heats up, hurricanes are expected to become stronger on average. In the past four decades, the percentage of hurricanes reaching Category 3 or higher has increased, according to a United Nations climate science panel.